The Power Of Bringing Documentation To A Negotiation

Documentation is key to negotiating success
Documentation is key to negotiating success
Image Credit: Gerben Wierda

Guess what? You’ve been asked to participate in a negotiation. Great. Now what do you need to do in order to prepare for this negotiation? One thing that you are going to want to give some thought to is just exactly how you are going to be able to convince the other side of the table that your position is the right position no matter what negotiation styles or negotiating techniques are being used. This is going to take some serious convincing. It turns out that you won’t be able to do this by yourself – you’re going to need some documentation.

What Most People Do Wrong When Starting A Negotiation

All too often, when someone is asked to participate in a negotiation, they grab a pen and a notebook and they head off to do battle. The problem with this is that they have clearly not prepared for the negotiation. The other side of the table is going to see them coming, realize that they are not prepared, and they will have just gained power. You don’t want to allow this to happen to you.

If you don’t prepare for a negotiation, then you’re going to find yourself “shooting from the hip”. Basically, making things up as you go along. As a negotiator, what you are trying to achieve is called an “air of legitimacy”. If you haven’t prepared for the negotiation, then this is not going to happen for you.

One of the biggest questions is why do people show up for a negotiation unprepared. The short answer is that nobody every told them what they needed to do. All it is going to take is a negotiation that turns out badly for them to realize that what they have been doing is not working. What they need to discover is a better way to show up at their next negotiation prepared.

The Power Of Documentation In A Negotiation

When you arrive at your next negotiation, you want to walk into the room with an air of authority. One way to make this happen is to understand what it is going to take to get the other side of the table to believe that you are correct. One of the most important ways to make this happen is for you to understand that what people believe to be true is more often than not based on what they have seen or read.

Just by telling the other side that you have a written down way of doing things will allow your process (even if it does not really exist) to become the standard for the duration of the negotiations. Just saying something during a negotiation does not carry that much weight. Instead, take the research that you’ve done in preparation for the negotiation, print it out, bring it to the negotiation, and present it to the other side. When you do this it will be become accepted as fact.

When the negotiation starts, you need to show up with all of your documentation. More often than not this is going to put you at an advantage because the other side will probably have very little documentation to support their position. The good news for you is that even if the other side is aware of the facts relating to the negotiations, because you have the documentation it will be simpler for you to defend your position.

What All Of This Means For You

During your next principled negotiation you are going to have to find a way to convince the other side of the table that your position is the correct one. This can be very hard to do if you are hoping to accomplish it using only verbal arguments. You are going to have to come up with another way to get your way in this negotiation.

It turns out that the best way to convince the other side that you know what you are talking about is to show up with lots of documentation. The reason that this is so powerful is because your documentation creates an air of legitimacy and can quickly become the standard that the rest of the negotiation gets built on.

In order to get your next negotiation turn out the way that you want it to, you are going to have to prepare for it. This means that you’ve got to show up with documentation. Simply by doing this you will gain more negotiating power and will have a better chance of getting what you want out of the negotiations.

– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World Negotiating Skills™

Question For You: Do you think that it would be possible to bring too much documentatin to a negotiation?

Click here to get automatic updates when The Accidental Negotiator Blog is updated.

P.S.: Free subscriptions to The Accidental Negotiator Newsletter are now available. Learn what you need to know to do the job. Subscribe now: Click Here!

What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

Every negotiator should be using a deal book in order to keep track of all of the 100’s of tiny details that go on in every negotiation. So that you don’t forget or overlook anything, your deal book can act as both a checklist for the negotiation and as an organizer for your thoughts. Deciding to do this is a great first step, the challenge comes when you sit down to do it – just exactly how do you use this thing?